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Archive for February 27th, 2008

The Camp of the Saints

Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 27, 2008

This recent news about African refugees flooding into other countries puts me in mind of a book I read many years ago, The Camp of the Saints, by Jean Raspail. It was written in 1973 and is proving eerily prescient. Here are excerpts from some Amazon reviews:

This book is so politically incorrect that I admire Amazon.com for actually carrying it. Written in the early 1970s, this book looks beyond the cold war to a North-South confrontation in which European civilization is unilaterally morally disarmed. The thesis is simple: suppose a million starving people from the Ganges actually took Western rhetoric of compassion, explotiation, etc., to heart, and comandeered, en masse, shipping, with the intention of moving to the shores of France? (Raspail, of course, is French.) Would anyone stop them? …The author’s point is that any who dare to say that ‘white’ civilization has a right to exist are branded racists and cast out of the pale of polite society.  (Reviewer: Lloyd A. Conway)

Jean Raspail was already a distinguished travel writer and novelist when he put his reputation on the line with this one – He had a lot to lose. To his credit, Raspail pulls no punches and manages to say just about everything there is to say about the threat that Third World immigration poses to Western Civilization….Immigration negatively impacts the environment, the economy, crime, and national security. This novel posits that it further threatens to destroy the relatively democratic, tolerant and civilized cultures of the West and the essential commonalities of the Western peoples. According to Raspail, the West “has no soul left” and “it is always the soul that wins the decisive battles.” To call the novel “racist” is unfair. Raspail includes an East Indian among the “Saints” who defend France, and portrays many White Frenchmen who welcome the invaders as their equals. The novel clearly states that being a Westerner is NOT a matter of race, but a “state of mind.” (Reviewer: James NYC)

This novel has had a controversial history. Three decades after its original publication, “The Camp of the Saints” can still provoke arguments. There are many persons who have denounced it as racist and xenophobic without bothering to read it. Others have praised it as being prophetic and timely. In light of recent events in France and the Netherlands, specifically, and Great Britain, Germany and Italy, generally, this book seems more relevant today than when it was first printed. (Reviewer: Borowy26 “Hank”) 

Posted in Other refugees | 8 Comments »

Yemen is overwhelmed with African refugees

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 27, 2008

Judy just told you about Israel being overwhelmed with African refugees and then tonight I’m reading about Somalis and Ethiopians flooding into Yemen.   According to this Reuters article, 30,000 African (mostly Muslim) illegal immigrants have swarmed across the Red Sea to Yemen this year alone in hopes of getting to Saudi Arabia or the West.  

The United Nations has set up camps and many go there in hopes of a ticket out.

Many Africans consider Yemen a gateway to other parts of the Middle East and the West. It shares a border with oil-producing Saudi Arabia, which hosts millions of foreign workers.

______

But some Africans find their odyssey ends here, in lives half-lived because Yemen is itself too poor to offer a better future.

Others like this 23 year old mother of SEVEN disperse into slum neighborhoods.

“I couldn’t stand camp life,” said a woman in a black scarf with orange flowers who gave her name as Fawzia. The 23-year-old has seven children and a runaway husband. She survives on casual domestic work, but has failed to pay her rent for six months.

_________

“I hate myself, I hate my children, I have no future,” she said vacantly. Beside her, a baby lay untended in its own vomit on the grubby blue carpet of her trash-filled shack.

Here is a post I wrote back in January on Africans headed north through Libya.

Posted in Muslim refugees, Other refugees | Comments Off on Yemen is overwhelmed with African refugees

Israel is overwhelmed with African refugees

Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 27, 2008

If you’re a country that is civilized, prosperous and safe, a lot of people are going to try to move there.  In the United States we’re deluged with illegal aliens. Because we share a border with Mexico and that country is a disaster, we’re the “safety valve” for Mexicans.  Israel also has an inflow of illegal aliens across its southern border, Africans fleeing from persecution and war. The AP reports:

Israel, founded six decades ago in the wake of the Nazi genocide, has become torn between a sense of duty to help people fleeing persecution and fears of an onslaught of illegal immigrants. The result has been a confused policy full of contradictions.

Israel took in many of the early arrivals, providing shelter and even arranging menial jobs in hotels and on kibbutz collective farms. It recently granted temporary residency status to 600 refugees from Darfur, and gave work permits to about 2,000 other infiltrators from Eritrea whose lives would be endangered if sent home.

——————————

But Israel has vowed the rest would be deported, claiming they are in the country purely for economic opportunities. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday directed authorities to expel the 4,500 Africans considered to be illegal immigrants, including people from the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, by the end of the week.

Israel is the most desirable destination for the refugees that they can reach.  The reporter talked to one Eritrean man:

“Only Israel safe,” he said in patchy English, his hands and feet heavily bandaged after they were lacerated on the barbed-wire barricade between Egypt and Israel. “All African countries the same.”

Here’s a peculiar twist to the story:

Last year, Israel sent a group of 48 African refugees, mostly from Darfur, to Egypt after receiving assurances that they would not be harmed. But 20 of them were “asked to leave” and returned to Sudan, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official said. …Human Rights Watch said the Israeli and Egyptian actions in that case were “unconscionable,” saying the migrants faced likely persecution in Sudan because of their time in Israel, which is considered an enemy country.

In other words, refugees come to Israel illegally. Israel has to keep them or be accused of human rights violations because their having been in Israel will subject them to persecution in their home country. Pretty good trick.

And that makes me wonder about the religion of these refugees. For some reason, the article doesn’t say. Doesn’t it make a difference if they’re Muslim or not? Israel has enough trouble with its own Muslims’ hostility, let alone taking in more.

Hat tip to Infinicat for this story.

Posted in Other refugees | 5 Comments »

Pew: Faith in numbers

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 27, 2008

The Washington Times yesterday reported on a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life under the headline “Catholic Tradition Fading in US.”    The article reports that Catholic numbers are declining in the United States and only being propped up by immigration.  The largest and fastest growing group are the Evangelical Christians.

Evangelical Protestants outnumber Catholics by 26.3 percent (59 million) to 24 percent (54 million) of the population, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, a massive 45-question poll conducted last summer of more than 35,000 American adults.

Mainline Protestant churches are dying.

The traditional mainline Protestant churches, which in 1957 constituted about 66 percent of the populace, now count just 18 percent as adherents.

So, guess you’re wondering why I’m writing about this in RRW.   One reason is that it’s the Catholic groups like Catholic Charities and many of the mainline Protestant churches that traditionally are the ones to resettle refugees.   I noticed here in Hagerstown that the Virginia Council of Churches was having trouble finding churches to volunteer.  None of the Catholic Churches participated.   Methodists and Presbyterians were involved but only with a handful of church members. 

Could it be that those faith groups are declining?  This Pew study would indicate that is so. 

I know I’m making a broad generalization, but I’ll do it anyway based on what I know in my county.   Although Evangelical churches care about the world’s troubled people they tend to send missionaries to the third world to help them where they live.  They don’t bring them here in a big way.  The Virginia Council of Churches (in Maryland) did not ask any of the Evangelical churches to help with resettlement and one pastor of such a church remarked to me, “We would be the last they would ask.” 

I think I like the idea of helping people where they live.  (See my next post on Pat Buchanan)

This does not bode well for refugee resettlement by the left-leaning mainstream church groups and could be why we are seeing refugees being left in the lurch with a lack of care.  There just aren’t enough willing volunteers in those type of churches.

The other thing that caught my attention in this Pew study was the numbers of adherents of Islam.  This study puts the number of Muslims at a much smaller demographic than Muslim organizations have been proclaiming in recent years.   Six to eight million is the number bandied about, but Pew puts it at only 1.3 million.

It also revealed there are twice as many Jewish adults (3.8 million) as there are Muslim adults (1.3 million).

Looks like almost three times as many. 

Interestingly the number of Muslim refugees we have confirmed from 1990 to 2003 at 200,000 (certainly there were more before they kept those numbers and many more since 2003) would indicate that Refugee Resettlement has played a huge role, larger than I had guessed, in increasing the Muslim population of the US.

By the way, I suspect Pew’s Forum on Religion and Public Life is all about the electorate, you can bet all the Presidential campaigns are pouring over Pew’s numbers as I write this. 

Posted in Changing the way we live, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 2 Comments »

UN survey finds growing levels of drug-resistant TB

Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 27, 2008

The World Health Organization reported yesterday:

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been recorded at the highest rates ever, according to a new report published today. The report presents findings from the largest survey to date on the scale of drug resistance in tuberculosis.

There are nearly half a mllion new multidrug-resistant TB cases a year, out of nine million new TB cases overall. There is also a new category within multidrug-resistant TB:

It found that extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), a virtually untreatable form of the respiratory disease, has been recorded in 45 countries.

We’ve reported on the high TB rates among refugees from some countries here, here, and here.  Usually it’s latent TB, which is treatable if the patients stick around to take their medicine for a year. Now I’m curious if some of this latent TB is drug-resistant strains. What happens then?

Posted in health issues, Refugee Resettlement Program | Comments Off on UN survey finds growing levels of drug-resistant TB

Turkey is reforming Islam

Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 27, 2008

Here is a stunning development out of Turkey. As reported by the BBC,

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is the sayings of Muhammed, and it includes much of the advice for daily living that Muslims hold sacred, including many rules that suppress and denigrate women. This new interpretation says that Muhammed didn’t actually say some of these things, others he said but they were specific to the times in which he lived, and others need to be reinterpreted for living in a modern society.

I’m no expert on either Turkey or Islam, and I am awaiting commentary from Robert Spencer and other experts to understand more about the significance of this development.  Turkey realizes there will be a huge reaction from what the article calls “traditionalist Muslims.” And then there’s this:

As part of its aggressive programme of renewal, Turkey has given theological training to 450 women, and appointed them as senior imams called “vaizes”.

They have been given the task of explaining the original spirit of Islam to remote communities in Turkey’s vast interior.

One of the women, Hulya Koc, looked out over a sea of headscarves at a town meeting in central Turkey and told the women of the equality, justice and human rights guaranteed by an accurate interpretation of the Koran – one guided and confirmed by the revised Hadith.

She says that, at the moment, Islam is being widely used to justify the violent suppression of women.

“There are honour killings,” she explains.

“We hear that some women are being killed when they marry the wrong person or run away with someone they love.

“There’s also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment by uncles and others. This does not exist in Islam… we have to explain that to them.”

One advisor to the project points out:

“Unfortunately you can even justify through alleged hadiths, the Muslim – or pseudo-Muslim – practice of female genital mutilation,” he says.

It’s not just remote Turkish communities who need these things explained to them. It’s mainstream Muslims around the world. Let’s hope this Muslim reformation spreads to the United States and influences the radical Mosques that Ann posted about yesterday. Turkey does not have the oil money that Saudi Arabia has to spread its Wahhabi poison, but perhaps some Muslims will realize this is what their religion needs.

Update: Here is Robert Spencer’s commentary.

Posted in health issues, Muslim refugees | Comments Off on Turkey is reforming Islam

 
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